NHS services in Dorset are currently experiencing significant levels of demand. The public are being urged to choose the right care to ensure they receive the most appropriate treatment and to help reduce unnecessary pressures.

Pharmacies offer a lot more than just a place to collect a prescription – they can advise you on how to treat a variety of minor illnesses or conditions. Pharmacies in Dorset have private consultation rooms so you can speak in confidence and you will be advised if you need to see a GP. There are over 150 in Dorset alone so there will always be one nearby.

If you need urgent care for issues that aren’t life threatening, such as a sprain, minor burn or skin infection, search www.nhs.uk to find your nearest Minor Injuries Unit or Urgent Treatment Centre before heading to A&E.

If you or someone you are with finds themselves in a life-threatening situation call 999 and ask for an ambulance. You will be taken to most appropriate place for your needs which in some cases may not be your nearest hospital.

If you’re affected by a mental health issue, talk to your GP. You can call NHS 111 to access the GP out of hours’ service over any upcoming bank holidays. If you’re already a service user, directly contact your Community Mental Health Team.

Remember, the Retreat is now open in Hahnemann Road, Bournemouth between 4.30pm and midnight, Monday to Sunday, where you can drop in, talk to peer support workers and access help. Even if it’s just somebody to talk to, make sure you know what services are available in Dorset. Visit www.dorsethealthcare.nhs.ukfor further information.

Dr Simon Watkins, Chair of the Urgent and Emergency Care Clinical Delivery Group at NHS Dorset CCG, said: “It is important to know what your local health and care services are and when to use them. If you are ever in any doubt about where to go, my advice is to call NHS 111 and speak to a trained adviser who will point you in the right direction.”

To find more details of local services visit www.nhs.uk/service-search.